Physicians will usually tell pregnant women that if they were active before pregnancy, they should experience no problems maintaining that level of activity throughout the pregnancy. There have been women who have successfully remained very active all the way through the the third trimester. Do some research in the IDEA article library for more information on this topic.
The only answer that should be acceptable for you in this instance is one that comes straight from your client’s physician! There are so many different factors that go into creating prenatal and postnatal programs. I feel comfortable saying that if I had a client who was pregnant, I would suggest she look into mind-body fitness, yoga, something of that nature. From a psychology standpoint, I’m a big supporter of lessening stress in expectant mothers. That’s just me, though.
Final answer: This is one for your client’s physician! Getting the physician’s approval and advice is not an option!
Being a trainer and having recently given birth myself, I firmly believe that leading a healthy and active lifestyle while being pregnant has very positive effects on the labor and delivery as well as recovery. As mentioned above, if your client is active before getting pregnant they should be able to maintain that level of activity without any negative effects on the pregnancy. The exceptions are of course if the client is experiencing any complications with their pregnancy and need to follow the contraindications related to that complication. The important thing to keep in mind is that the guidelines are just that and every client will be different. If your client was not active prior to being pregnant, it is important to introduce activity that will not overwhelm them. This would not be the time to begin metabolic circuit training. Some light resistance training, yoga, light cardio, etc would be appropriate.
On the day I gave birth I taught and participated in 2 boot camp classes, a zumba class and trained 2 clients before I realized I was in labor and had to go to the hospital. I had a very healthy little boy without any difficulties in the delivery. I recovered so quickly compared to friends who were not active during their pregnancies. I also did not gain a lot of weight and lost it all within 2 weeks.
I am so glad I listened to MY body and remained active and ate a healthy diet. Encourage your clients to listen to their bodies and remember there is no one size fits all answer.
This is something that I am currently researching on a broader perspective for prenatal and postnatal group classes. As stated by Marlan, I will NOT work with anyone that does not have clearance from their physician to participate in an exercise-based program while being pregnant. That is the first point.
Secondly, if you exercise while pregnant, but do not eat healthy, all-natural foods, there is little point in exercising. While you are pregnant, it is even more important to keep an excess of organic, healthy foods available; especially if you are active. In Romans, the Bible says that, in addition to abstaining from alcohol, it is vital to each natural foods. This is due to the high quantity of vitamins and minerals obtained from foods in their raw form.
Therefore, maintaining an active lifestyle and incorporating an exercise regimen with healthy, organic eating, upon your doctor’s approval, is a great way to live during and after pregnancy – for you and your baby.